On the eve of Christmas

These are unusual times.

As Christmas approaches, I spend my days moving between despair and hope.

Dickens said it best in A Tale of Two Cities..

It was the best of times

best

It was the worst of times

elijah2

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….

I am now like those two cities.

One city is full of memories of Elijah, despair and regrets. The other city is full of Gabriel and the joy and laughter he brings to my life every single day.

Christmas is a lonely time as a bereaved parent.

The whole world is drinking, laughing and celebrating birth, at a time when celebration feels wrong.

But…then there is hope.

The hope that comes from watching the little face of a 3 year old boy light up, every time I switch on the Christmas tree lights. Hope in the squeals of excitement, every time he rips open a Christmas card and hope in the 1,000th time he has told me “Father Kissmass come down the Chimney for pie”.

So today, on the eve of Christmas, I’m embracing that hope. To all of you who have suffered loss and are surrounded by darkness and despair today, I’m sending you peace and I’m sending you some of my hope.

I am with you.

You are not alone.

HOPE

Written by Gabriel & Elijahs mummy.

Hello Hope
You went awhile
Now you’re back
With a promised smile
I abandoned you
Gave up for dead
Washed away
With the tears I shed
I’ve lived despair
so time to stay
surround me Hope
each and every day

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A very creepy Christmas

I’ve been putting it off, but finally, with the big day fast approaching, we went Christmas shopping today.

Gabriel (my almost 3 year old) was very excited, shouting “Tree mummy. Lights mummy. Snow mummy” all the way there.

When we arrived, we didn’t quite get the lovely Christmas experience we were expecting. In fact, Gabriel was so shocked and slightly scared, that he was quiet for at least a whole minute.

So we turned up at the shopping centre, to find a Christmas display in the entrance hall.

You might, in your mind, be thinking of something that looks like this

grotto_animatronicsLovely reindeers, snow and trees. Right?

WRONG.

Think more along the lines of a Disney/James Bond evil villan

bear

My name is Teddy, Evil Teddy

As the evil Teddy turned his narrow eyes towards us, Gabriel sought refuge behind me, clutching my coat as he whispered “will bear eat me Mummy”.

I honestly didn’t know the answer.

He was so huge and scary, he looked like he’d eaten at least a dozen kids that morning!

“Lets go to the other side” I said, dragging reluctant child behind me.

That was a BIG mistake.

On the other side of the display, we found this

rat

Dead or sleeping?

“Mummy. Why is Rat on him”, Gabriel asked. “Well, it looks like a Rat, sweetheart, but I think it’s supposed to be a mouse and I think he’s giving him a kiss”. Gabriel pondered this for a moment. “No, mummy” he said sternly “not kissing. Eating”.

So, my boys first Christmas display experience involved a giant evil Teddy and a rat eating a dead bear.

Thanks Tesco.

tesco

On this occasion, every little definitely DOES NOT help. Keep your creepy Christmas display to yourselves!

Bring back the reindeers!

The True Magic of Christmas

Christmas is a tricky time when you’ve lost a loved one.

I’ve been dreading it.

Celebrating a birth, buying presents for other peoples babies, seeing newborns dressed up as cute reindeers…to be honest, I would rather be hiding in a hole this year! A friend of mine, who lost her baby, spent the first Christmas in isolation with the curtains closed. Isolation sounds perfect to me but I have a very excited little boy who can’t wait for Father Christmas to come down the chimney.

I’ve been avoiding talking about Christmas with him or making any plans, but it’s getting impossible to avoid, as he now comes home from playgroup very excited about painting Christmas pictures and singing carols.

He is loving the idea of Christmas while his Mummy would like Christmas to bog off please.

Then, yesterday, purely by accident, I rediscovered the magic of Christmas.

Gabey decided to throw a massive tantrum, after I opened the door for him to climb into his car seat. To an almost 3 year old, this is obviously a terrible, unforgiveable crime as he “WANT DO MYSELF MUMMY”. I tried explaining that some people pay a lot of money to other people, just for this very privilege. That didn’t work. The screaming and leg kicking and shouting just kept increasing in volume, until I’m pretty sure they could hear him on the International Space Station.

Finally, in despair, while other parents held their hands over their perfect childrens delicate little ears, I shouted back “Enough Gabey. If you don’t stop shouting right now, then Mummy is going to write a letter to Father Christmas and tell him not to bring Christmas presents because you’ve been naughty”.

Silence.

Absolute silence for the whole drive home.

So, while I’m obviously not going to be winning “Mum of the Year” anytime soon, I would just like to say thank you Christmas. For the first time in my life, I now understand the true nature of this blessed holiday season.

Tantrum control.

It’s like I’ve been let into the best kept parenting secret ever.

I truly, truly love you Christmas.

 

Last Christmas

I always know Christmas is coming when I see this

My lovely red friends

Last Christmas, I drank an ocean of Gingerbread Latte (with cream of course) and thought I’d be doing the same now but two big things are different from last year.

The first is Elijah.

Last red cup season, I was pregnant and seeing those cups brings back memories of how excited I was about the year to come and how much I was looking forward to drinking my Starbucks in Christmas 2012 with a new baby.

The second big change is down to my adultery.

Yes, I’ve committed adultery since Christmas 2011. The cheating started slowly. A bit here and a bit there but now I admit it. I can’t stop. This is my new love

I love you too Costa Capp

The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure and I felt very, very guilty about cheating on my beloved SB, but then the fella behind the counter smiled at me knowingly, like he knew I was cheating, like he knew the struggle going on in my soul. Slowly he created a picture out of chocolate sprinkles on top of my coffee fluff and I was forever changed.

I tried to resist.

I keep going back to give us another chance. A last shot at reconciliation. I smile as I take my Starbucks Grande Cappuchino (two shots) and think to myself “it’s all in your mind. Forget about the other one. This one is just as good. You CAN make it work”.

It’s hopeless. The fluff isn’t as fluffy. The shot of caffeine not as intense. The taste just not as smooth and they NEVER, EVER play Simon & Garfunkel.

I think I realised that there was no going back, when I looked at the regulars wall last week. On that wall are polaroid photos of all the Starbucks regulars. Regulars like Mick, who drinks in there every single morning, propping up the caffeine bar so to speak.

I wasn’t on there and that’s incredible, considering I drink enough Cappuchino in a week to keep the whole of Italy awake for a month.

So, two big things are different and as much as I want and as much as I may try, neither of those things is going to change. 2013 is about coming to terms with the new, unexpected life in front of me and leaving those lovely little red cups to Last Christmas.